I’m Not A Customer But I Play One On TV

by Marianne Richmond on July 16, 2006

There were some announcements this past week of new ad campaigns that I found interesting. One BrandWeek headline read, "Dennys Fires Employees and Hires Customers for Ads." The article goes on to explain that Denny’s has a new campaign starring actors playing customers which replaces their previous campaign which starred real employees telling how they met customer’s needs. I guess Denny’s didn’t want the real customers to answer for themselves.

Pizza Hut made a similar announcement. Their new campaign which BrandWeek describes as customers confessing how and why they crave Pizza Hut pizza. Now of course, most TV commercials do use actors….but I kind of thought there was a memo circulating that talked about the consumer (in charge), User Generated Content (YouTube), audience fragmentation, audience inattention, and death to the 30-scond spot. If you have no idea what I am talking about, Pete Blackshaw wrote a Pocket Guide to UCM, last year which is a great starter.

Of course advertisers are not required to use real consumers in their advertising. David Polinchock, of Experience Lab, took pictures of his daughter making her own pizza at Pizzeria UNO and talked about her experience and the resulting word of mouth, as the ultimate consumer generated product. Imagine this consumer "confession" of why she wanted to go to Pizzeria Uno.

Coke, Dell, and Ford were in the spotlight of the blogosphere last week for not understanding social media and who is in control. I found it somewhat noteworthy to mention that the NewYork Times ran a story today about Ford’s future direction called Running on Empty and didn’t even mention Bold Moves. I can only wonder why not.

BL Ochman, one of the harshest critics of "big advertising" asks and answers "Why Pay Attention to Social Media…Because Companies Have No Choice." I completely agree. Someone should inform the New York Times.

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